Just finished a call with Jeff, CEO for a national tech business. His end-of-year financials highlighted in thick red how sales numbers were behind plan, sales team turnover was high and recruitment costs were skyrocketing. Over a beer during the holidays he’d complained to a friend, he explained, who suggested Jeff call me. Seems the ideas in one of my presentations seemed worth pursuing.
To Jeff, the usual direct costs of poor recruitment decisions jumped off the page: missed sales targets, overshot budgets, high employee turnover, growth measures that adjusted like quicksand, movement up then back, up then back.
The picture became even more concerning when other impacts were added to the number: unhappy managers, disrupted teams, ill-fitting new hires, declining employee referrals, challenging investors, and frustrated clients.
Frankly he’d lost confidence in his team’s ability to select the right people and wanted help.
In this data-driven age Jeff wasn’t surprised when I suggested analytical assessment tools but felt a little out of his depth in how to use them.
And if the reader thinks they’re the personality tests frequently used for teambuilding – you know, the ones where the office is broken into oddly comfortable groupings of employees that, when asked a question, react as you do, and brightly colored cards sporting “ENTJ” and “ISFP” are tacked to fuzzy cubicle walls – they’re not.
The tools we discussed are validated to offer a high correlation with future performance in a specific role.
Predictive assessments begin with a job profile created by analyzing the skills and behavioral-based requirements of the specific job. Applicants and internal candidates then complete an online evaluation as one element in the selection process. Answers aren’t right or wrong; rather they identify the candidate’s abilities and preferences, then create a profile of how they truly are and their best culture fit. The tool then compares candidate profiles to the job profile and objectively ranks them on fit for that role.
For sales roles in particular, data shows that top performers who were job matched (in conjunction with structured person-to-person interviews) outperformed those not job matched just six months after hire. The performance differences widened further after 14 months.*
Existing profiles for individuals can also be matched against other positions in the organization to support development and succession planning.
Jeff and I will meet soon to start developing his sales profiles, and to him his 2017 numbers feel more achievable already.
Using Assessments for Better Decisions
Too often our view of a candidate is driven by a superficial understanding of them and our natural connection with those similar to ourselves. Adding the objectivity of predictive assessments allows for a more informed and relevant selection decision rather than simply swiping left or right and hoping for the best.
Source: Herbert M. Greenberg and Jeanne Greenberg, “Job Matching for Better Sales Performance.” Harvard Business Review, Vol. 58, No. 5.
Gavin Pommernelle helps leaders solve business problems, develop their teams and reach their potential. You can find more information on his executive coaching, talent assessment and HR solutions at talentdrivenvalue.com